"Character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life—is the source from which self-respect springs."
~ Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
The fact is, most of us will agree the past two years have been quite a ride. Even as a writer, it's been challenging to capture in words the array of emotions that have emerged during this time, as we were faced with a wide range of issues from politics to pandemics, mental health awareness, and the fallout from all of the above.
All of my personal and universal lived experiences over the past few years have encouraged me to write numerous articles intended to inspire hope in my readers. One important way of instilling hope is through being aware and conscious. For some ideas, please check out my article, "How to Be More Conscious and Compassionate,"
originally published in 2015 and just republished last week. There's no doubt that the subject is a timeless one, even dating back to my hippie days of the 1960s. I remember being obsessed with Ram Dass especially. Role models like Dass, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and the Dalai Lama are constant reminders of the importance of being conscious, compassionate, and fostering a positive attitude.
In thinking about all these powerful and inspiring humans, I'm taking a moment to reflect on those whom we have lost in 2021. As a writer, it's sad to note that we lost some very significant wordsmiths, including Beverly Cleary, Mary Catherine Bateson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Eric Carle, Stephen Dunn, Gary Paulsen, Jakucho Setouchi, Robert Bly, Anne Rice, bell hooks, and most recently, Joan Didion.
I'd love to honor each one of them here, but due to space restrictions that is, unfortunately, impossible. Instead, I will honor the three who have had the most significant effect on my life. Eric Carle's books always kept me, my 3 children, and now 5 grandchildren amused and smiling. Stephen Dunn's poetry has always touched a tender nerve in me, and I had the pleasure of meeting at a writing conference a few years ago. Last, but not least, Joan Didion's counterculture writing deeply influenced me during my hippie years. Later I would go on to hand out her essay, "On Keeping a Notebook," in my writing workshops.
If you haven't yet, please check out Didion's biography on Netflix called, "The Center Will Not Hold." It so powerfully depicts her life, relationship with John Gregory Dunne, and the tragedy of losing both Dunne and her adopted daughter Quintana within the same year. Heartbreak cannot even begin to describe what she endured until her recent passing on December 23rd at age 87. Learning of all these passing is another reminder to enjoy each and every day of our lives, as we never know which day will be our last/
Here's to life, light, and happiness.
Wishing you a safe, happy and healthy 2022!!